2-2018 Where ignorance is Bliss … a sequel

Yet another shameful discovery I made today was about the way we treat Ramanujan :
Do you know that it took almost a century after his death, to locate the house where Ramanujan was born ? Thanks to the efforts of Susumu Sakurai, Professor and head, Department of Math, Tokyo University of Science and Technology, and Dr. N. Mani, professor, Government Arts College, Erode, and president, Tamil Nadu Science Forum, the place would have perished and forgotten forever. This happens in a country where we fight tooth and nail for years over building a temple for a mythical person. We have memorials for politicians and scoundrels in every city. We have no place or willingness to remember a scholarly giant who made India proud.

Almost a 100 years after his death, the Indian Government declared that 22 December will be celebrated every year as National Mathematics Day. Even today, many schools in India are not even aware of the significance of 22 December, or the decision by the Govt. of India.

Another shameful discovery I made was about Ramanujan museum, housed in a single room in an obscure corner of Chennai.

Also see my earlier post in WordPress.


1-2018 The moon is falling !

“The moon will fall on our heads”

I had a remarkably extraordinary experience recently. I received my new
passport within just 3 days of applying for it (applied 10 jan, received 13 jan).
This set me thinking on factors which let this happen. One major contributor
was that my wife and I had our Aadhar card. This definitely made it easier for the authorities to verify my credentials. It then made me wonder about the meaningles fuss being made about the imginary “threats” this card held.

How would you react when someone cries “the moon will fall on our heads” ?


Do you refuse to enter the supermarket, because they have CCTV cameras
watching you and invading your privacy ? Do you protest when the train controller
asks to see your ticket ? Why should he know your private details like name,
age, gender, itinerary ? Do you revolt against xray screening of your baggage,
frisking and whole body scanning at airports ? Did you condemn your postman because he knows your home address and the names of all the people living with you ? Where will this paranoia take you ?

I found yet another logical refutation to the objections raised by the detractors. There is a law in India which allows all citizens of in India access to all information about their Government (RTI). Why should the Government not have access to information about its own citizens who claim the “right to information” ?

Stop being a hinderance to progress. Stop objecting to good ideas because
you have some imaginary nightmares. In this age of terrorism, fraud and threat at
every street corner, is there any justification for not being careful ?

PS: Aadhar is a success story of FOSS usage.

9-2017 Beware of Uber !

Beware of Uber !

I have experienced fraudulent activities by Uber in Hyderabad, India. I am sure there are many other ways Uber can fleece you. If you know any other ways you have been fleeced, let me know by email drpartha@gmail.com.

1. Uber has no contact centre where a customer can call up, if they have a problem or complaint. The mobile app. used by Uber is defective in many respects and cannot be used for lodging complaints or reporting issues which are not listed in the app. Of course, there is no email address where a customer can report issues. Their website has only a few limited issues which you can report. You may be sufferiing from an issue not listed in their web pages.

2. When you book a cab, the driver may not even reach your pickup point. Instead, he would report a “no show” and charge a cancellation fee. Although the driver has your contact number, he will not even call up to warn you or alert you that he has been waiting and is aborting the wait and he will charge a “no show” fee. There is no way that a customer can prove that the driver did not reach the pick up point. The customer has no option other than paying the “no show” ransom.

3. When you finish your trip and pay the driver by cash, the driver can still make a claim using your cashless payment option (UPI, ewallet, PayTM). The claim will obviously fail for want of authentication and a “payment pending” notice will hang on your app forever until you pay up.

4. Violating all norms of corporate decency or ethics, Uber has no channel for complaint escalation, appeal, or arbitration.

5. You have no scope for posting your suggestions, remarks, or queries to Uber.

There is no way to complain or raise a dispute, since Uber has insulated itslf very cleverly (see point #1 above).

Next time you book an Uber cab, be prepared for some nasty surprises.

8-2017 A new signage for handicapped-friendly structures

To support my campagin for handicapped accessible structures, explained in
http://drpartha.org.in/drpartha/handic.htm, i have created a new signage to assure users of a handicapped-friendly structure. You can download the image from the above website.

7-2017 Copyright is NOT the right to copy

One of the most misunderstood terms in the English language is “copyright”. The word “copy” in “copyright” is a noun and not a verb (denoting making a duplicate). The French have a more explicit term: “droits de l’auteur”, which can be translated as “author’s rights”.

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. It is important to note that copyright protects only the “original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves”. An idea is an abstract entity. It is expressed in many ways : as words (prose, or poetry), as music (lyrics, or tune), as figures (map, sketch, diagram, drawing, painting, icon, sculpture, photographs, logos, monograms, emblems) , as computer programs, or in any other palpable form/medium). Such an expression is often called as “copy”.

The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by restrictions and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. These rights frequently include usage, reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and “moral rights” such as attribution. Typically, the duration of a copyright spans the author’s life plus 50 to 100 years (that is, copyright typically expires 50 to 100 years after the author dies, depending on the jurisdiction).

Another term closely related to “copyright” is a “license”. A “license” is a legal instrument used for sharing the copyrights of the author. The license can be granted only by the author — the person who owns the copyright. A license is a formal document which specifies the rights being shared, and the conditions attached to this sharing.

The difference between copyright and license is similar between an ownership document and a rent/lease agreement. While renting out an apartment, the owner specifies various conditions (see examples below), but retains the ownership with himself. Another analogy would be like buying a train ticket. The passenger gets the right to use the train, the train still belongs to the railway company. The ownership is not transferred to the tenant. Only the conditions of usage by the tenant/passenger is formalised. Here are some common examples of conditions which can be specified in a rent/ lease document :

Usage: The tenant may not use the apartment for commercial purposes. The tenant may not store weapons,
explosives etc. in the apartment. The tenant should not disturb the peace and tranquility of the

Copying / distribution: The tenant may not be allowed to hire out the appartment to others. He is not authorised to sell or mortgage the apartment.

Modifications: The tenant is not allowed to make any modifications to the structure (e.g. breaking walls, blocking windows or doors etc.). The tenant may also not be allowed to repaint the apartment. The tenant may not add rooms or extensions of any kind.

Attribution: The tenant must retain the actual owner’s name and title in all ldocuments.

The train ticket analogy is pretty similar:

Usage: This ticket permits you to travel only between the two stations menioned in the ticket. Some tickets also specify the train or the class you can travel. Sometimes, even the compartment number and the seat number may be imposed.

Copying : You cannot use a copied ticket for travel. The ticket is not transferable.

Modifications: You cannot make any modifications to the train or compartment you are travelling in.

Each train company can impose its own set of restrictions/limitations with the ticket you buy.

Like a rent/lease agreement, a license may adopt / impose similar conditions. The license may or may not require payment of any kind.

A license is a contract between the uthor and the user. The author is free to take any action, if the user violates any conditions mentioned in the license.

Certain businesses e.g. music and entertainment business, have advocated the extension and expansion of copyright and sought additional legal and technological enforcement. The computer software industry has its own adaptation. There is a plethora of licensing schemes adapted for the computer software industry. Two licenses stand out, for their popularity:
* The GNU Pulblic License (GPL), created by the Free Software Foundation (FSF).
* The Creative Commons Lincense

These two licenses provide an unambiguous and standardised framework for sharing computer software or similar literary publications.

DISCLAIMER: The author is NOT an expert in legal matters. The above post is only his personal impression on copyright. Consult a qualfied and competent legal professional for confirmation on the above.


6-2017 Beware of ionexchange zero-b

Looking for a water purifier for your home/office/work-place ? Read this, before you make any decision. Save yourself and avoid all the pain.

#1 Complaint dated Wed, 26 Apr 2017, lodged with ionexchange ::


I am thoroughly disappointed with your product and your servicing
arrangements. No one has come till now to attend to my complaint.
Please remember that it is impossible to survive without drinking water
in this scorching summer. I have waited enough. I am contemplating
putting up this entire episode as well as my earlier experiences on the
w-w-web and propagate it to all your competitors.

#2 Complaint dated Wed, 27 Mar 2017 , lodged with ionexchange ::


I am now obliged to make this irresponsible behaviour known publically
over the Press and through the w-w-web (I am an IEEE decorated web
designer). Your competitors will certainly benefit from this adverse

I expect you to take IMMEDIATE action and ensure that the servicing to
be done, without any further delay

You can get more details from drpartha@gmail.com. You are also welcome to narrate your bitter experiences with ionexchange zero-B. Your experiences will also be displayed on the web, to alert others. We all have a collective responsibility to prevent such unprofessional and unethical behaviour by irresponsile companies like ionexchange.

5-2017 You still trust SPICEJET ?